Whenever anyone thinks of someone tramping through the newly-formed United States drawing sketches of American birds, one doesn't think of Alexander Wilson. Alexander Who? But Wilson was actually the person who gave John James Audubon, shopkeeper and amateur bird artist the idea to copy what Wilson was doing in putting together a subscription folio of bird prints. Wilson had the great good fortune to be befriended by William Bartram, the leading plants-man of his day who had collected North American plants from most of the United States at the time. Wilson's sketches are reproduced in detail in this book. His story is slender as he died young. But it is amazing that a poor, scantily educated boy from Scotland coming to make a new life for himself and falling in love w/ his new country and wanting to share it. This book has an academic slant. For those of us who aren't biologists, a discussion of bird typology may not be terribly interesting. Arguments over whether Wilson or Audubon is the greater bird artist seem trivial as there is clearly room for both. But if you are in love w/ birds and and the romance of discovering new species in a new world, this book is for you.